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Friday, 23 February 2018

Fantastic New Video Review of Lion & Dragon!

Well, today I'll just leave you with this; if you somehow still weren't sure about buying Lion & Dragon, maybe this guy will convince you!


Currently Smoking: Moretti Rhodesian + Country Doctor

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Lion & Dragon Character Sheet Now Available FREE!

Over in the G+ Dark Albion + Lion & Dragon community, someone who just bought Lion & Dragon was asking about how they could get a quality copy of the character sheet in PDF so they could print it out.

And it really is a nice character sheet!

So, I sent word up to DOM (my publisher) and they made a free-download PDF of the character sheet over on RPGnow!

Be sure to check it out!  And check out Lion & Dragon while you're at it, of course, if you haven't done so already.  There's a reason why it's been on the bestselling top-15 of rpgnow for three months now!


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Oversize + H&H's Chestnut

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Classic Rant: Real Magick in RPGs: Thelema

In a modern occult game, the PCs might run into some new-age goofballs, or some neo-pagan eclectics, while they're looking for someone who can provide them some kind of information or real magical assistance. Chances are, those people will be useless. But sooner or later, someone is going to point them to some guy or some group that they think of as "dark", or even more often as "assholes", but that may actually have the information or skills they seek; odds are, those will be the Thelemites.

Don't get me wrong: chances are most of the Thelemites will be useless too!

Thelema is in many ways the 20th century's greatest magical tradition, born out of the Golden Dawn (which was the 19th's greatest tradition), and it was directly or semi-directly the source of so much of what we think of as Occultism today, including Wicca, most Neo-Paganism, Chaos Magick, and it was even peripherally involved in the rise of Scientology. Not to mention being a big influence on a lot of the big movers of the hippie era: Timothy Leary, William S. Burroughs, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, discordianism, Robert Anton Wilson... from both the artistic and the 'philosophical' side (using that term loosely), Thelema was the well from which they all drank.

So what's the deal with it? That might be too much to express in just one blog entry, so you may need to do some extra research if you really give a damn. But putting it in brief, Thelema was a radical new expression of everything that had come before in western magick, and set up as a truly complete and coherent system of rigorous esoteric/spiritual practice for the first time in at least 1500 years in the west.

It was founded on a series of Holy Books that were received by Aleister Crowley in 1904 (at which time he had already been an ex-magician, having worked in the Golden Dawn, become disillusioned, and taken up Buddhism instead), through a vision his wife had on their honeymoon while they were spending the night inside the Great Pyramid of Giza (because back then you could just do that, if you had money). The vision led him into communication with the solar-god Ra-Hoor-Khuit through a being called Aiwass, who was Crowley's own Augoeides (guiding spirit, or the reflection of his higher self, if you want to simplify it somewhat).

These workings led Crowley to re-invent the magical system already developed by the Golden Dawn into a new system, a mixture of magical practice with a new pagan-inspired (but not inherently pagan) philosophy, centered around the core teaching of the Book of the Law: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law; Love is the law, love under will". The system was a kind of western Tantra, involving the overcoming of one's self through rigorous yogic practice, ceremonial magick, meditation, and initiations.

Again, that's all the theory. In practice, what happened is that like anything else in occultism, the vast majority of people involved decided that it's a lot easier to be a poser than to be legit. Crowley was a transgressive figure, and his reputation for breaking all the rules caused him to make relatively little ground in his own lifetime; by the time he died in 1947, in spite of some initial gains, there were probably only a few dozen Thelemites in the entire world. But later, in the 1960s, Crowley's philosophy took off among the hippies and the post-hippies and later among the punks and the heavy-metal fans and the goths, so that there are now probably tens of thousands of Thelemites world-wide, and a lot more people who are peripherally connected to his work (whether they know it or not).

But most of these people were really drawn to the idea of "Do what thou wilt" just meaning "do what you like", or they were drawn to the sex-magic stuff (which was really only one small, though important, part of Thelema, and not for beginners), or to the idea that it might be "satanic" (a claim mostly made by its detractors). So just like you have a lot of neo-pagans who are really mistaking their religion for a D&D-Larp or a Ren Faire, today you have a lot of Thelemites who are really mistaking their religion for playing at being Azrael Abyss.

(future "thelemites")

That is, again, one of the main things to remember in running a genuine modern-occult games. Real magical teachings are NOT hard to find, you don't need to go to old libraries and look for difficult texts for months; you can get it all on the internet these days. But its really really hard to find people who have actually worked the work, regardless of the tradition. 
For a lot of Thelemites, their work consists in having occasionally read some of Crowley's work, having maybe done a Banishing Ritual once or twice in their lives, maybe having joined the O.T.O. (the most popular Thelemic group), which is a bit like Freemasonry but less stable and more lame, or just hanging around wiccan/pagan groups freaking them out and telling them that their whole 'ancient religion' is just ripped off Crowley...

It doesn't help that by definition, Thelema is one of the ultimate Individualist philosophies. "Every man and every woman is a star", says the Book of the Law; which is to say every person is unique and must find their will (their true Will, the guidance of their higher self, again really simplifying it there). This means a lot of Thelemites don't generally play well in groups. Thelemites are a crazy mix of radical lefties, total libertarians, anarchists, quasi-fascists, drop-out stoners, off-the-grid nutsos, and general whackos. As always, the ones who are really good at it, who do the work and have gotten somewhere, are often not very interested in spending a lot of time around all the other guys, or if they do they keep what they've done relatively quiet.

Even so, if you can find one of those guys, they're the ones most likely, in all the western traditions, of having something worth telling you or showing you. Ironically, for a system that says "do what thou wilt" and for a movement that is so full of people who are often about style (usually 'sinister' style) over substance, the actual PRACTICE of Thelema requires an insane amount of discipline. The payoff is that it is the most coherent magical system for systematically gaining the skills necessary for magical work. Once again, none of the teaching is secret, but the art of how to apply it in the right order is just really hard, and thus usually ignored or skipped over. It sure does bring results, if you follow through though.


Currently Smoking: Masonic Meerschaum + Image Perique

(Originally posted April 10th, 2015)

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

RPGPundit Presents #20: Arkhome II

Wow. Seriously, I can't believe we're already at the 20th issue of RPGPundit Presents! I have to say it's been doing quite well these few months, and a big thank-you to everyone who's ever bought one. And if you haven't, check out the whole list below at the bottom of this blog entry, because you'll be bound to find something you'll find interesting, and all for only a couple of bucks.

That is, if you don't find Arkhome II interesting, which you should. For just $2.99, you get a 21 page continuation of our previous issue, RPGPundit Presents #16: The Great City of Arkhome. Technically, you can use Arkhome II in your gonzo/weird-fantasy OSR gaming without having to own the first Arkhome, but seriously, why not?
If you buy them both, you get a 39 page city book that has everything you could want for under $6! 

So Arkhome I had the introduction to the city, one of the last refuges of pure-strain humanity in the world of the Last Sun, in the middle of a huge desert, inside of a canyon, made from the shells of great rocket ships. You got the background of the different power groups and vicious gangs that run the city, including the Assassin King and the Snake Witch, locked in a war for dominance, as well as other groups like the old families, the thieves guild, and Queen BooBoo and her halfling savages that live on the canyon floor. You got a set of tables for generating random tower levels, and some big tables of random adventure seeds for the different tower levels.

So what do you get in Arkhome II?  Here's where things get even weirder! You get:

-The mysterious interdimensional trading post known as The Curiosity Shoppe

-The Giant Snail farms of Arkhome, chief resource of the city, and details on this precious source of power

-Information about the Dwarves of Arkhome, and the not-very-secret plans of Prince Flarb son of Marb to enact the 12,445th great expedition!

-The Evil Parrot, possibly the single most dangerous creature in Arkhome (well, second most dangerous, after the mad wizard Nikos).

-The new bird-mask-wearing cult/gang of violent lunatics known as the Halconlords, and why they might just conquer the entire city. Learn the secret of the Ribond, and who is the master behind the weirdest badass gangsters ever

-A whole new table of DCC-style 0-level Occupations, specifically tailored for creating 0-level characters or NPCs for the city of Arkhome! Featuring over 80 unique professions! 

-Lotus Powder, the drug of choice on Arkhome's streets

-Find out if the "imported pork" can be trusted!

-Cave-scorpion poison!

-And last but definitely not least, some very big detailed random tables for random events and encounters covering the surrounding Desert, the Canyon cliffside and its caves, and the Subsurface Catacombs below Arkhome.

The city of Arkhome is one of the most important areas of the World of the Last Sun, but assuming you're not running your game there (and don't want to visit), you can put Arkhome into just about any Weird Fantasy setting, isolated as it is, or use the material in their for your own grubby weird-fantasy city full of gangs and strange goings-on.

So be sure to check out Arkhome II on DTRPG, or at the Precis Intermedia webstore!

And while you're at it, be sure to pick up the rest of the great supplements in the RPGPundit Presents series:

RPGPundit Presents #1: DungeonChef!

RPGPundit Presents #2: The Goetia  (usable for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #3: High-Tech Weapons

RPGPundit Presents #5: The Child-Eaters (an adventure scenario for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #17: The Hunters (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)

Stay tuned for more next week!


Currently smoking: Brigham Anniversary + Image Latakia 

Monday, 19 February 2018

The Frantabulous Gonzo Robot Generator (now Multilingual)!

So, I already posted here last week about my RPGpundit Presents #19: the Frantabulous Gonzo Robot Generator. It's an awesome little product if I say so myself, letting you create random robots with a gonzo flavor for your OSR Gonzo Fantasy or Gonzo Sci-Fi needs!

(it also has the stats for BOLT-0, the legendary Robot NPC from my DCC Last Sun campaign)

Anyways, you get all kinds of tables, not just for generating robot stats and special abilities, but also name, purpose, desires and hobbies.

And now, you can get it in Spanish!

El Fantabuloso Generador Gonzo De Robots  is now available from DTRPG, or here from the Precis website.

"Crea robots, androides, cíborgs y otras entidades artificiales para juegos OSR de temática gonzo (u otro tipo de fantasía). Ya sea máquinas sin conciencia o robots inteligentes, esta colección de tablas aleatorias pueden generar una gran variedad de modelos, nombres, formas y otros rasgos."

So, check it out in either language!


Currently Smoking: Neerup Egg + Image Virginia

Sunday, 18 February 2018

DCC Campaign Update: Vegan Mutants are Descended From Carrots

When last we left our "heroes", they were back in the Sun, and trying to get the Spirit of the Sun (Anema) and the Wight who stole her heart, her soul, and her ability to open the gate to the Crown of Creation, back together again as a couple.   Also, the strange and very glam Captain Harry, from the future, had just revealed to Heidi that he was Heidi's grandson.


-"Sami, get a hair off Mongo for me."
"He's not an animal, you can't Summon him!"
"No, it's for Locate Object."
"He's not an object!"

"Guys, I think Heidi just got some kind of bad news!"

-"We can go anywhere from here, we should get some money!"
"Who are you even talking to right now, Catboy? Heidi is in the other room screaming with Captain Harry, I'm with Anema, and Vizi is talking to Fabritzio. I guess you're just talking to the Vegan."
"Oh god no!"

-"We're almost at the Crown of Creation."
"Yeah, you could say we're in the Hallway of Creation."

-"OK, so to review: Sami is talking with Anema trying to get her on track with the relationship thing, Vizi is doing the same with Fabritzio, the catboy is following Vizi, the Vegan is following the Catboy, and Heidi is still screaming but no one cares."

-Sami is trying to talk relationship advice to Anema.
"The way to a man's heart is through his prostate, you just shove up.."
"What Vizi?"
"I got this one, OK? I got this."

-"From now on, I'm just called Catboy."
"That's a stupid name."

-Fabritzio still has cold feet.
"I'm a wight, she's the Sun.. it's not a very natural mix."

-Roman comes into the room in a bathrobe.
"What's happening? Who keeps screaming? Are Anema and Fabritzio doing it? Those don't sound much like happy screams."

-"Wait, this place has showers?"
"This place is run by the most narcissistic shallow Female Entity we've ever met. Have you seen the size of her makeup closet?"
"Really? That's interesting. Excuse me for a moment..."

-"What are you doing?"
"Stealing makeup."
"I have makeup!"
"You do, why?!"
"I'm a thief. It's for disguise."
"You're a cat!"
"Yeah, no amount of makeup is going to hide the fact you're a catperson!"

-Sami sneaks into Anema's Makeup Closet.
"Oh my god! The colors!!"

-Meanwhile, Heidi is telling everyone what Captain Harry told him.
"Wait, how could he be your grandfather!? You're not even green!"
"We can be whatever we want, in the future. Human, mutant, those are all things of the past. In the future we're all One."
"Are there Vegans?"
"No. As I mentioned, they're all extinct."
"See? That really is the best of all possible futures."

"Shut up, Vegomagus!"
"That's it! That's his new name!"
"But I don't want to be called the Vegomagus!"
"...i want my name back please."

-"Can we fit a mammoth or a giant porcupine in the dungeon we're going to visit?"
"I can now understand why we drove you to extinction."

-"No, Vegomagus, you can't make a catboy from cat hairs!"
"He's a catperson, not a cat! He's as similar to a cat as Heidi is to a monkey or the Vegomagus is to a carrot."
"Vegan mutants are descended from carrots?"
"Well, I assume so."

-They go get Sami, who's busy stealing all the makeup she can from Anema.
"Sami, we have to go somewhere."
"There's a problem."
"Because I want a cool sword."

-"We should bring one of the Jesi with us; they can teleport us there and back."
"Yeah, good idea. Hey, I haven't seen Chocolate Jesus around lately..."
"I notice Mongo's face is covered in chocolate stains..."
"Oh. I thought he was just eating makeup."

-"blah blah sidequest mongo?"
"No, Mongo, you're not going on a sidequest with us. You're staying here."
"Hey, Mongo's first word in Common is 'sidequest'!"
"Makes sense!"

-"Mongo, stay here. Be good. Don't eat another Jesus."

-"Let's bring Republican Jesus."
"Where is he?"
"He's over at the gun range, shooting an M16 and drinking beer while listening to Sweet Home Alabama."
"Hey Republican Jesus, want to come with us to shoot some things?"
"Buddy, you had me at shoot."

-"Do you have any more guns, Republican Jesus? All I have is this pistol."
"Shit, do I?"
Republican Jesus shows the catboy a gigantic warehouse full of guns. There also appears to be an atomic bomb there.

-The Catboy takes a sniper rifle, a bandolier full of high-explosive grenades, and a machine gun that's almost too big for him to lift.  They're heading back to the others when they run into Historical Jesus.
"Hey, have any of you seen Chocolate Jesus anywhere?"
"Um. No. We have to go now!"

-Following Captain Harry's guidelines, Republican Jesus teleports the party to a rocky black island in the middle of a blood-red sea.
"This is the Sea of Blood."
"Can I summon something with this blood?"
"NO! Do not do that."

-The PCs find the entrance to the dungeon, it took some time because in Captain Harry's time this whole place was a commemorative museum.
They enter a corridor and find a large door at the end, which the Vegomagus' Detect Magic notes is protected by an Explosive Rune. 
"We could send some porcupines through there."
"If I send a porcupine through and it's hurt, will you heal it?"
"Porcupines ain't for healing, they're for eating!"

-Roman tries to remove the explosive rune with this sonic tool, but it creates a type of backlash and briefly Roman seems to assume a different form, of a tall man with heavier features and a larger beard.
"What was that?!"
"Uh, nothing. It must have tried to polymorph me or something."

-"It seems to be a Fae Rune"
"I knew about a Fae Rune in some Realms, but I've Forgotten."

-"I could just use my grenade launcher on it, that might do the trick."
"Do your stuff, RJ!"
"RJ? Shit, I like that! OK, y'all step back... motherfucking Giddy Up!"

-Republican Jesus fires a couple of grenades at it, destroying the door, but the rune is still there, invisible to the naked eye.
"Ok, that's it. Vegomagus, tell one your porcupine to go through the entrance."

-Reluctantly, the Vegomagus sends a summoned porcupine through the door.
"Ok, walk through that door porcupine.. I.. I love you!"

-The porcupine, facing a suicidal order, turns on the party!

-Heidi manages to kill the porcupine. The Vegomagus summons 4 more porcupines.
"The porcupines look happy until they see the mangled corpse of the former porcupine. Then they look worried."
"Don't worry. That won't happen to you if you obey!"

-The 2nd porcupine they try to send through the door ALSO turns on the PCs!
"Lucky we killed it before it could avenge itself on you, Vegomagus!"

-The 3rd porcupine ALSO turns on the party!
"In porcupine it's saying 'die, destroyer of my race'!"

-The Vegomagus is forced to use Force Manipulation to destroy his own summoned animal.
"It's body parts explode all over the remaining porcupines, who look horrified."

-The next porcupine finally crosses, and gets blown up by the Rune. The rune is weakened by not extinguished.
"God damn it!"

-To avoid the risk of the last porcupine turning on them, Heidi has a plan. He has the vegomagus order the remaining porcupine to get within 10 feet of the doorway.
"I can't tell you."
"But why?"
"Because if I tell you, the porcupine will know and then it might turn on you!"
"OK, but what are you going to do?"
"Just do it!"

-Heidi kicks the porcupine, field-goal style, through the doorway. It also explodes, and the blast hits Heidi, and he takes some damage but survives.

-The rune is finally spent! The Vegomagus summons another porcupine and tells it to go through the door. It does so unharmed, but a second later is snatched up from some hideous white tentacles from the ceiling! They hear some desperate squeals, and then some porcupine bones fall to the floor.
"Holy shit, what is that goddamn thing?!"
"Oh yeah, the museum did mention a tentacle creature.."

-The party comes up with a plan. They summon yet another porcupine, and tie a bandolier around it with 10 High Explosive grenades. Republican Jesus ties some fishing line to a pin, and when it goes through the entry and gets snatched up by the tentacles the pin is released. A second later there's a huge explosion and bits of tentacle and chunks of red matter fall the floor.

-"Summon some more porcupines to see if it's really safe."
"OK, I'll summon 2 4HD porcupines."
"No, summon 8 little ones, we might need more test subjects!"
"But the big ones can protect me..."
"Well, the little ones can swarm an opponent, Ugandan-Knuckles style!"
"I like how you're using his favorite meme as a way to try to manipulate him."

-"Hey, I just thought of something. To restore Captain Harry's timeline, maybe we just need to SAY that the Hippomagus was at the Crown of Creation!"
"You mean bring his corpse with us, Weekend At Bernie's style?"

-"Huh. I think this tentacle creature was made of... spaghetti?"
"So it was a flying spaghetti monster?"
"Oh crap, the atheists will hate us now, we blew up their god!"

-"You know, for a supposedly 'useless' guy, I sure helped!"
"You couldn't control your porcupines for shit! We wasted hours on this!"

-"Which way now?"
"Well, I know that to the left there was some kind of blob-monster. And to the right there was a little shop."
"Oooh, a little shop! That's great!"
"That's probably just in the future, this place will become a museum, remember?"
"So what kind of shop is it?"
"It doesn't exist there now!"

-The PCs head to the room that will one day have a 'little shop'. They were hoping it might have just been an empty room, but as it turns out its covered in gunk and crap and has a dangerous Shit-Eater!

-"Heidi, it's your turn. What do you do other than weep for your descendants?"

-RJ hits the shit-eater with a burst from his M16, and it runs away.

-There are some twinkling things in the shit-eater's pile of shit!
The Vegomagus covers himself in shit in the process of digging it all out. It turns out to mostly be a few thousand copper pieces and a couple of platinum pieces, though there's also three scroll tubes.
"The highest level spell is Lokerimon's Assistance"
"Makes sense, that's a shit spell."

-They move on to the next room, where they encounter the Shit Eater, which seems to have mutated to grow a couple of extra tentacles! The room also has an evil Hag (who probably healed and 'evolved' the Shit Eater), and a Giant Flan!

-Heidi flies in and attacks the Giant Flan, but the Hag casts Sleep and Heidi falls asleep, while his jet pack is still on, bouncing him around the room at random.

-The Vegomagus decides to summon more animals after his latest porcupine is beaten to death and disemboweled by the Shit Eater.
"Force Manipulation!!.... er, I mean, Animal Summoning!"
"You are so confused, dude."

-Sami calls on Divine Aid to wake Heidi up!
"I got a natural 20! Heidi will never sleep again!"
"He is so Woke now!"

-Heidi grabs the hag by the hair and throws her into the corridor. Then, surprising absolutely everyone, Captain Harry pulls out a tiny little gun out of his pocket and instantly disintegrates her!
"Holy shit!"
"Wow, look at your grandson now, Heidi!"

-Vegomagus summoned a bear, who goes at it with the Giant Flan.
"The flan hits the bear, doing 10 points of damage from acidic Dulce De Leche!"
"That's one tough piece of frou-frou cake!"

-The bear hits but only does 4 points of damage.
"That's a weak hit. Is that bear ill?"
"It must be Vegan!"

-Heidi slays the Giant Flan.
"Dessert is served."
"Great line!"

-"I'm finally getting good at throwing Force Balls!"
"You're good at handling balls, Vegomagus?"
"I learned from the master!"
"The Hippomagus taught you about balls?"

-They finish killing the monsters.
"I cast detect magic."
"You don't detect anything?"
"Not even from that black door you mentioned?"
"Oh, shit, right. No, the door is FULL of magic."

-The black door has another explosive rune. And it's immune to scrying. And it has a Wizard Lock. And it's got a barrier against Daemons.

And at that point, unfortunately, one of the players had to leave early.  So we stop on a 'to be continued'. Stay tuned for more DCC greatness!


Currently Smoking: Castello 4k Collection Canadian + Image Latakia

Saturday, 17 February 2018

My new Lion & Dragon Campaign: Highlights

So, today we played the second session of my brand new Lion & Dragon campaign.  This is the campaign that replaces the original Dark Albion campaign, which lasted six years and whose house-rules were the foundation for the Lion & Dragon rules.

The first session of this new campaign was largely about character creation, where we established the past history of the PCs and their families.  Like my last campaign, the players each had two characters.  But unlike the previous campaign, in this one I decided (because I wanted more connection for the PCs to the corridors of power) that every player would have at least one character of Knightly social class.

In that first session the characters:

1. Did some training, and the new players learned some of the basic mechanics in this way.

2. Went on a hunt.

3. Had an encounter with a strange fantastical creature.

And that was about it. Oh, they also had the PCs they played level up from level 0 to level 1.

In this session, which picked up right where the last one left off, the PCs:

4. Fought off some common bandits.

5. Visited the court of an Earl.

6. A couple of them got knighted, and one of them was invested as a Cleric.

7. One of the PCs, a Scots Man, got drunk out of his mind, committed some petty vandalism, was arrested and tried (I didn't expect a chance to use the medieval court trial resolution mechanics so soon in the campaign, but there you go)!

Luckily, the Scots Man PC had a venerable old knight vouch for him, gave a great speech before the judge, and had one of the other PCs (a knight) agree to take him on (and take responsibility for him) as a professional squire.  So he got off!

8. Headed off to patrol the border of the county.

9. Got into a big fight with a band of soldiers from a neighboring barony who's Lord had an ongoing feud with their Earl. Tragically, the venerable knight who was their mentor died in the fight; of course that was luck of the dice and not predetermined, but it sure fit the "heroes journey" motif.

Anyways, it was a really great session in what looks to be a really great campaign.  The PCs got to learn a lot of local folklore, a lot about the game, and a lot about how they need to behave in a Medieval-Authentic setting. They all got seriously into it.

I imagine I'll be doing some more updates as we go along.  Meanwhile, be sure to pick up Lion & Dragon if you want to enjoy the same kinds of Medieval Authentic awesomeness! 


Currently Smoking: Neerup Acorn + Image Virginia